LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
You know, I think to that question that the Judiciary Committee has some slightly different rules on what it means once someone who is sworn in as a witness, but we have a Judiciary Committee member here with us who is going to answer all of that. I now believe that the Intelligence Committee hearing now might turn out to be the better of the two hearings because I think Aaron Zebley`s contribution could be really invaluable tomorrow. I suspect he will be less tight and constricted in the way he talks about this.
He`s certainly in a position to know everything, and I mean everything. He was the go-between, as "The New York Times" reports, between the Mueller team and the Justice Department. That means that every interaction with Rod Rosenstein and then with William Barr --
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Mmm-hmm.
O`DONNELL: He was a party to. He knows every single thing that Rosenstein allowed them to do or maybe was reluctant to allow them to do. He`s just filled with a level of detail that I think is invaluable.
MADDOW: And because of that, because of his role as the person who was running the day-to-day operations of the office but also that go-between role at the Justice Department, you`d sort of be I think particularly interested in what Zebley might have to say about, you know, charging decisions around obstruction of justice and some of that really controversial stuff from volume two of the report. Volume two of the report is going to be what they`re discussing in the morning with the Judiciary Committee, which is the time you`d want Zebley to be able to answer those questions.
As of right now, we don`t think he`s going to be answering questions, he`s just going to be sitting there whispering in Mueller`s ear. As I said, I don`t know if the Judiciary Committee has it within their power to change that arrangement, but now that intelligence has, why don`t they?
O`DONNELL: But even that role in the Judiciary Committee is also very valuable because we all know the Mueller report is a massive document and it actually does not include every single thing that they experienced during that investigation.
MADDOW: Of course.
O`DONNELL: And to have somebody there at your side to be able to remind you or quickly point to page 78, paragraph 2, this is -- this is the best answer for that.
O`DONNELL: And that`s invaluable. This would be a better show, you know it, if my staff was sitting here throwing in the better questions that I could come up with, but we just don`t have the physical room for it and there`s other TV conventions about why that doesn`t happen, but we know how valuable it is to have more than one voice reacting to these kinds of things.
MADDOW: If you ever wanted me to anchor buddy like that for you in your hour, I would do it as long as you would do the same for me in the proceeding hour.
O`DONNELL: Oh, boy --
MADDOW: Come on.
O`DONNELL: I need that help so bad.
MADDOW: We`d do it like doubles.
O`DONNELL: All right. We`ll do it.
MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Well, Katie Porter is back. Congresswoman Katie Porter has been on the Deutsche Bank case and "The New York Times" has reported that convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein now facing new charges in New York has had dozens of accounts at Deutsche Bank which some of the employees flagged for possible illegal transactions. We`ll get Congresswoman Porter`s reaction to Deutsche Bank`s handling of Jeffrey Epstein`s accounts at the end of the hour tonight because we have so much to cover before that.
And we begin tonight with the Mueller hearings. The breaking news at this hour is that the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff has sent a letter to Robert Mueller contradicting the letter that the Justice Department said to -- sent to Robert Mueller last night. The Justice Department letter to Robert Mueller insisted that he comply with very strict restrictions on his testimony that would mean, in effect, he could not say anything that does not appear in print in the Mueller report already.
Chairman Schiff`s letter to Robert Mueller tonight says, quote: The DOJ letter attempts unduly to circumscribe your testimony and represents yet another attempt by the Trump administration to obstruct the authorized oversight, activity and legitimate investigations of the committee. And accordingly, I fully expect that the DOJ letter will have no bearing on your testimony before the committee tomorrow.
Robert Mueller is going to have help in his testimony to Congress tomorrow. Also, the breaking news tonight, attorney Aaron Zebley will be sworn in as a witness along with Robert Mueller at the House Intelligence Committee hearing. Aaron Zebley will also accompany Robert Mueller to the House Judiciary Committee hearing but will at this point anyway as far as we know not be sworn in as a witness in the Judiciary Committee hearing. There, he will be appearing as Robert Mueller`s counsel at minimum to advise and assist him with his testimony whenever necessary.
Aaron Zebley first worked with Robert Mueller when Mueller was the director of the FBI and Zebley was his FBI chief of staff. He then joined the same private law firm that Robert Mueller joined and left that law firm with Robert Mueller to work at the special counsel`s office where Aaron Zebley was the deputy special counsel.
Aaron Zebley had wide-ranging responsibilities overseeing the entire Mueller investigation, volume one and volume two of the report. And he was the primary go-between with the Justice Department. That puts Aaron Zebley in a position to know everything about the Mueller deep`s communications with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was supervising the investigation, and then Attorney General William Barr when he took over the supervision of the investigation.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee both said today that they believe Robert Mueller does not have to comply with the restrictions on his testimony that appeared in last night`s letter from the Justice Department to Robert Mueller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): I think it`s incredibly arrogant of the department to try to instruct him as to what to say. It`s part of the ongoing cover-up by the administration to keep information away from the American people. But I think that it`s not going to have a real impact.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We don`t recognize that limitation at all, and what`s more, they don`t recognize that limitation. They say it`s well- established DOJ policy that the prosecutor can`t talk about this. Well, the department doesn`t comment on people not indicted, tell that to Bill Barr.
If the attorney general ignores the DOJ policy, then how does he have any right to ask Bob Mueller or anyone else to follow this policy when it`s not a policy at all?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And we are lucky to be leading off our discussion tonight with two members of the committees who will be questioning Robert Mueller tomorrow: Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland. He`s a member of the House Judiciary Committee. And Democratic Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont. He is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman Raskin, let me go to this issue of will Robert Mueller be testifying alone or how is it going to work? Will it be different?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): I wasn`t a party to those negotiations but last I heard he is the only witness there. The Republicans undoubtedly will try to draw everybody into it, and, you know, on the assumption that if you`re sitting at the table you`re fair game, but I don`t think that our chair will put up with that.
O`DONNELL: The Republicans seem to be objecting to any version of Mueller being accompanied by anyone to your committee.
RASKIN: Yes. They don`t want him accompanied. They also want to put him in a complete straitjacket and have him operate under a gag rule.
But, look, that`s consistent with the whole effort to cover this thing up from the beginning. Remember, the report came out on March 22nd, and Attorney General Barr didn`t get it to us until April 18th, a day or two before Easter and Passover took place.
Large parts of the most critical elements were redacted from it and they spent many weeks misleading the country about the contents of the report prompting the special counsel, prompting Mueller to write two letters of protest that the attorney general was confusing the country. So, we`ve got this thick fog of propaganda and deception that`s out there and the most we can hope for now is that Mueller`s testimony in his own voice, in his own words about the actual findings of the report will pierce through this fog of propaganda and let the people see that there were ten episodes of presidential obstruction of justice.
And as my colleague will I think help us to get to, that there was lots of interaction between the Trump campaign and the Russians as they opened the doors and threw open the windows to this attempt to undermine and derail our election.
O`DONNELL: In your committee tomorrow, Aaron Zebley`s going to be a sworn witness at this stage. Do you expect committee members to solicit testimony from him as well as Robert Mueller? As much as Robert Mueller?
REP. PETER WELCH (D-VT): Our focus is going to definitely be on Mueller, and our goal is to let Mueller speak because if he just describes what is in the report, that`s very, very damaging to the president. But it is very good that Zebley is going to be there as well because if it`s just to give advice, he`s going to have specific details about all of those interactions you mentioned. Also, we`re establishing the precedent that we`ve been fighting for that some of these investigators, we have a right to call them.
WELCH: To inquire what`s going on. Mueller is at the top, but a lot of the people doing the details, where they know what the negotiations were, they know what happened, they`re relevant to get the story out to the American people. So we think -- we`re glad that he`s going to be there and we are glad that he`s going to be sworn in.
O`DONNELL: And the -- every member of the committee has a staff member nearby, when you`re not coming up with exactly the right thing in the right moment. And so, the idea that Mueller will have somebody there to also make sure that his answer is focused, you know, it`s one of those situations where Mueller might give an answer and he could easily lean in and say, you know, you might want to add that.
And if you watch can hearings, it happens all the time, you know, with the members and with the chairman.
RASKIN: Well, Mueller`s been clear that he`s not going to venture outside the four corners of the report. In other words, there`s not going to be any new factual bombshells, but the report is filled with bombshells for the 99 percent of the American people who haven`t read the report yet. So, it will be astonishing and astounding to people to hear in his own words the description of the president attempting to obstruct justice, attempting to tamper with witnesses, essentially cooperating with the Russians. Not turning any evidence over to law enforcement or the FBI about all of these attempts, you know, to get into the DNC and the DCCC and so on and encouraging this subversion of our election.
So I think that this whole hearing could be like a second chance for American democracy. Barr and Trump with their moronic mantra of no obstruction, no collusion, have set the country back. They derailed us. But this is an opportunity for us to try once again. But even up to the last minute, there are all these desperate ploys from the Trump administration to shut it down.
O`DONNELL: If Mueller does confine himself to strictly what`s in the report, that means he will not answer what I think is now -- by now the number one question that people have been saying they want to hear for months now, which is if Donald Trump were not the president of the United States, would he have been charged with a crime?
WELCH: That`s right.
O`DONNELL: According to the -- not going beyond the report, Mueller simply will refuse to answer that question if he`s going to stay confined to the report.
WELCH: Which would show the limitations. I mean, I do believe Mr. Mueller is going to try to get the truth out from his report, and if he is given a chance to do that, we`re going to hear how the Trump campaign actually provided detailed polling information to the Russians knowing that it was intended to sow social media disinformation.
And it was the internals, not just the horse race numbers, and that`s just a vivid example of how there was cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russians. And that`s a pretty shocking thing, never before done in American history. A lot of what`s going on now is the drama about the battle that is essentially between Mueller and Barr. Mueller`s job through the report was to get the information out.
Barr has defined his job as to conceal it. That`s essentially what`s going on. And these sideshow fights are essentially just the relentless effort on the part of the Trump administration now, unfortunately, with the assistance of Attorney General Barr to conceal the facts through obfuscation.
O`DONNELL: The -- one of the ongoing conditions of this investigation was something we`ve never seen before, which is the president attacking the special investigation of the president. Previous presidents had never gone into that kind of pure attack mode. President in effect threatening to fire them all publicly -- saying publicly I can fire them, I haven`t fired them that, that sort of thing.
And then in the course of the investigation, White House counsel Don McGahn testifies to the special prosecutor that I was ordered to fire you and I was ordered to fire you twice, and here is what is not in the Mueller report. What was Robert Mueller`s reaction to that as a prosecutor? Did he take any precautions? Now that the threat of firing was so vivid, did that in any way affect the way he or his staff approached this work after knowing that the president tried to fire them?
And if Robert Mueller sticks to the report, he will not answer a simple question like, were you concerned or were any of your staff concerned about being fired by the president?
RASKIN: Well, I think you`re right, he`s not going to answer that question, which goes to his state and mind and subjective impressions and sentiments that he had. He`s not going to go there. He wants to stick to a --
O`DONNELL: It may not necessarily be subjective, meaning the answer -- the true answer could be, and we may discover this some years from now, the true answer could be we sped up the investigation because we were afraid of being fired or we didn`t subpoena the president because we were afraid of being fired or we didn`t subpoena Donald Trump Jr. because we were afraid of being fired. That is not a subjective feelings reaction.
RASKIN: It`s a process question that he`s going to avoid. He`s going to say that goes --
O`DONNELL: But is that -- is that a service to the country?
WELCH: No. No, it is not. It`s not. You know --
O`DONNELL: And not reveal things like that.
WELCH: What we know, Mueller wasn`t afraid of being fired. He`s just got too much credibility, too much integrity, too much respect, but a lot of people working for Mueller might well have been afraid of being fired, and essentially what you saw with the Mueller report being shelved while Mr. Barr put out his four-page summary was the two men were in a fight, and one showed up with a gun and another showed up with a knife, and Barr won.
And what the question is for Mr. Mueller, what`s his higher duty? Is it to defend his report and does that have -- does that require him to go out beyond his comfort zone when his report is being so eroded by a take-no- prisoners Attorney General Barr?
O`DONNELL: Yes, and that`s actually why I`m hoping there`s two comfort zones in the hearing. Mueller`s and Aaron Zebley`s comfort zone is a different comfort zone, and possibly a wider comfort zone.
RASKIN: Well, let`s hope that`s the case. I mean, look, we shouldn`t pin everything on Mueller because there`s a lot of other information that needs to come out. And remember, the Mueller report itself doesn`t deal with any financial wrongdoing. It doesn`t deal with money laundering from Russian oligarchs through the office tower in the hotels. It doesn`t deal with financial fraud. It doesn`t deal with repeated and continuing violations of the emoluments clause by pocketing money from foreign governments.
So it`s not the be all and the end all. Let`s let him convey what he has to say according to the terms that he set for himself, and I think that that will do a service to the public. I mean, we can be disappointed in some decisions he`s made, but that`s water under the bridge.
Let`s let him speak and then we`ve got to look much more broadly at the corruption, the obstruction of justice and the lawlessness of this administration. And that`s up to us. We can`t pin it all on the special counsel.
We are Congress. We`re the Article 1 branch. We are the people`s representatives. We are the law-making power. We`ve got the responsibility to move against the lawlessness and the criminality taking place in the White House.
O`DONNELL: And that is something that Robert Mueller could make verbally clear. I think his point makes that clear, that it is your responsibility, especially in the end of the report.
WELCH: That`s right. You know, essentially what I hope we have an opportunity to do is let Mueller talk about his report because what that report shows is that there has been a shattering of important democratic norms. No candidate for president in our history has cooperated with a foreign power, and you can call it whatever you want. I`ll let the lawyers argue about collusion or conspiracy. Just the facts of what the Trump team did knowingly.
And then secondly, to have the president leading the charge and trying to cover up what happened and then to launch in to his attacks on fake news on journalism, on the courts, the things that he`s doing as standard procedure, it`s a shattering of norms that the Mueller report really reveals that started from the moment candidate Trump came down that escalator and started vilifying people on the basis of their ethnic origin.
O`DONNELL: You recently came out in support of impeachment. Are you hoping that tomorrow`s hearing helps clarify that for other members of the House?
WELCH: Not really. Because I think that does get it into the partisan aspect of this. What I`m hoping is that just the report gets out because I -- it hasn`t been read.
WELCH: And if people are aware of what the facts are, it`s going to allow them to come to their own conclusion, and that`s what we have to do.
So I see this as essentially a duty that we have and see where it leads. But there has been no wide dissemination of the actual details that are in the report. This is an opportunity for Mr. Mueller to do it.
O`DONNELL: Do you think there are any house members who are just in effect waiting for this testimony and then will announce their support for impeachment after it?
RASKIN: I think there are some. You know, Justin Amash is an instructive example of this. I mean, he read the report and he said the conclusion was irresistible, inescapable in his mind that there was substantial or overwhelming evidence that the president had committed high crimes and misdemeanors, and he challenged all of his colleagues to read the report.
He was one Republican who did. He`s no longer a Republican. I think that`s an enormously promising sign.
You know, The original groups of people to come out for it are the ones on the investigative committees who are most closely connected to the investigation, and we`ve seen real up close and personal the trampling of the norms that Peter`s talking about but also the violation of the laws and the absolute defiance that this administration has shown towards congressional power and our lawful power to get information, even war with it.
WELCH: I was going to say, I did come out for impeachment. It was reluctant. We`ve got to honor the outcomes of elections, but there`s two things that have happened.
Our Constitution says no person is above the law and every person is entitled to the full protection of the law. And Donald Trump every single day is repudiating that. He is not submitting to any recognition of Article I responsibility to Congress.
And he`s attacking people not for what they believe or what they`re doing, it`s on the basis of who they are. What`s their ethnic origin? What`s their race? What`s their gender?
And that is a complete shattering of those norms that hold us together and allow us to make progress in difficult times.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Peter Welch gets the LAST WORD in this round. I don`t think you`re going to get the LAST WORD in the hearing tomorrow. I think that`s going to be Robert Mueller.
Congressman Jamie Raskin, Congressman Peter Welch, thank you very much for starting us off tonight. Really appreciate it.
RASKIN: Thanks for having us.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, John Heilemann will join us to discuss some of the political aspects of tomorrow`s hearings.
And Congresswoman Katie Porter will join us to discuss today`s "New York Times" story about Donald Trump`s bank flagging suspicious transactions made by Jeffrey Epstein. They both used the same bank.
O`DONNELL: Democrats are approaching tomorrow`s Mueller hearing as a fact illuminating forum for voters who have not taken the time to read the Mueller report and Republicans seem to view tomorrow`s Mueller hearings the way they seem to view everything, a Trump re-election rally.
Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz will be questioning Robert Mueller in the judiciary committee hearing. He told "The New York Times" that his goal for the Mueller hearing is this: We are going to re-elect the president.
Joining our discussion now is John Heilemann, national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC`s co-host and executive producer of Showtime`s "The Circus".
John, when you listen to Matt Gaetz`s approach, that`s a very different thing than what we heard from the two Democratic members of Congress.
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it certainly has the virtue of honesty, Lawrence.
HEILEMANN: At least it`s straightforward. Something we rarely see from Republicans, which is kind of straightforward honesty. That`s what this is for them, a political exercise and they`re going to do everything they can to try to discredit Bob Mueller, to try to bludgeon Bob Mueller. They`re not interested in trying to find out the facts of what happened or even to have a real engagement with the facts that are in the Mueller report.
So I think we know what they`re going to do and it`s not really of much consequence, I think. I do think that it`s also the case that although in no way discrediting in the comments that you heard in your -- that you got in your "A" block from congressmen, it`s also clear this is a huge political moment for Democrats on the committee. This is, I think, you know, I don`t think it`s overstating things to say that the stakes politically could not be higher if you are a Democrat who hopes to still have a chance to impeach Donald Trump or open up an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump.
This has to go well for you. You know, I think history will be very -- will have a lot to say about what`s happened over the course of these three months since the Mueller report came out to this day. But there is no doubt that there is a lot on the line here and that public opinion needs to be moved in order to create the kind of -- the kind of political support that Nancy Pelosi and others in the Democratic leadership desperately need and want if they are going to do anything other than continue to sit on their hands when it comes to the impeachment question.
O`DONNELL: One of the interesting aspects of the reporting on this is that Republican Congressman Jim Jordan says that he wants to stress that phrase "insufficient evidence." That there was insufficient evidence to find a conspiracy --
O`DONNELL: -- between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
Now, the insufficient evidence line is seen as very condemning by Democrats, and -- meaning there was evidence, there was a certain amount of evidence but it was insufficient evidence. What you want in politics is there was zero evidence --
HEILEMANN: Yes, right.
O`DONNELL: -- of any kind of conspiracy.
But Jordan seems very happy with insufficient evidence and he seems to say that`s what he`s going to be playing on tomorrow.
HEILEMANN: Yes, and if you think, Lawrence, that the argument here is going to be -- this is something the Democrats have to get right if they want to make this a political winner is try to make people understand that insufficient evidence to charge a criminal conspiracy to defraud the American people in the 2016 election is a -- is an extraordinarily high bar.
I mean, the reality is what the report is replete with is evidence all over the place of conduct that was obviously corrupt, conduct that was obviously inappropriate, conduct that was obviously unpatriotic, conduct that was -- that was -- that should be politically damaging to the Trump forces, and if Democrats can get Robert Mueller, who seems in this area to be very eager to talk.
I mean, if you take him at his word from his press conference, though, he said he wanted to stick within the letter of the four corners of the report and the report is his testimony. The report itself is incredibly damning in its first section with respect to what it says about the Trump Organization, the Trump campaign did in the 2016 campaign to solicit help from a hostile foreign power. So I think in that sense properly framed, the elucidation of that evidence, the recitation of that evidence could be incredibly damaging if Robert Mueller goes as far as I think he wants to go, because I think he feels as though the first part of the report has gotten a short shrift in the public consciousness.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, in just a few hours, the British version of Donald Trump will officially become Britain`s next prime minister. And if you think our electoral college is crazy, wait until you hear how he became prime minister.
And Congresswoman Katie Porter will be joining us later in the hour.
O`DONNELL: If you think our Electoral College is crazy, the United Kingdom has just outdone it. Boris Johnson just became the new British Prime Minister without even having an election.
He was chosen by a private vote of members of the Conservative Party to replace Conservative Party Prime Minister Theresa May who quit because of the impossibility of implementing Britain`s exit from the European Union, commonly referred to as Brexit.
Just over 1/10 of 1% of the British population actually voted in the Conservative Party choice of a new Prime Minister. The voters, included children, because there are no real laws about this kind of private voting within a party. And the voters were obviously dominated by people who like Boris Johnson. Do not distinguish between fact and fiction.
A "New York Times" op-ed piece by British writer James Butler, says "Boris Johnson is how Britain ends. Such is the gloom in Britain tonight." Boris Johnson is regarded as the Donald Trump of the United Kingdom, which means that Donald Trump likes Boris Johnson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They say Britain Trump - they call him Britain Trump and people are saying that`s a good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: No British Prime Minister has ever been - has ever been more unpopular on his very first day in office than Boris Johnson. Like Donald Trump, Boris Johnson made it to the top of British politics with the help of Vladimir Putin and Russians who attacked the British voting system and helped deliver an electoral victory for Brexit in a Referendum three years ago. 51.9 percent voting in favor of Brexit with Russian support and 48.1% voting against Brexit.
Like his predecessor, Boris Johnson, is promising to do the impossible and negotiate a new exit deal with the European Union. But unlike his predecessor, he is also promising to do the impossible when he fails to negotiate a new exit deal. Boris Johnson says he will simply lead the United Kingdom out of the European Union without any exit deal at all, which would instantaneously bring a level of chaos to Britain, not seen since World War II.
"The Washington Post`s" Brian Klaas and National Security Expert, Jeremy Bash will join us after a break to discuss Donald Trump`s new competition for most reckless and incompetent leader of what once was one of the most important and stable governments in the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, INCOMING U.K. PRIME MINISTER: I know that there will be people around the place who will question the wisdom of your decision and there may even be some people here who still wonder what quite what they have done--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now Brian Klaas, Columnist for Washington Post and host of the new podcast "Power Corrupts" and Jeremy Bash, MSNBC National Security Analyst and Former Chief Of Staff at the CIA and Defense Department.
And Brian let me go to you in London. What is the mood in London tonight?
BRIAN KLAAS, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Well, disbelief. I think that this is - it`s a trump-like figure rising in Britain. You now have on both sides of the Atlantic, a narcissistic serial liar who has larger-than-life hair, who was born in New York, who has made racist statements and who has encouraged political violence, in power both in the U.K. and in the U.S. now.
And I think that there`s also a lot of worry, because there is 99 days until this so-called do-or-die that Boris Johnson has pledged to remove Britain from the European Union, even without a deal, which would cause catastrophic chaos.
And at one point the British Ministry of Defense was the largest purchaser of refrigerators in the entire world, because they are stockpiling medicines in peace time for this. So there`s serious risk ahead and Boris Johnson may not be up to the task.
O`DONNELL: Jeremy the - another big win for Vladimir Putin.
JEREMY BASH, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That`s right, because of course, there are strong allegations that Russia interfered in the British selection of Brexit as their future path and it`s not a mystery.
We know what Putin`s endgame is. He wants to obviously separate the U.K., which is America`s key ally in the transatlantic alliance from the rest of Europe. So he wants to break the European alliance, just as he wants to break apart NATO, which binds the United States Canada and our transatlantic allies. This is Putin`s game.
When he goes one-on-one against the country, he feels he can win. It`s when he goes against an alliance like NATO or the European Union, he feels completely isolated and small.
O`DONNELL: And Brian for Putin he wants to weaken every institution involved. He wants to weaken Britain and the British government, he wants to weaken the European Union and the hard Brexit this chaos stuff would do that.
KLAAS: Yes. I mean, we`re talking about serious economic damage. We`re talking about serious divides between Brussels and London, which will have knock-on geopolitical ramifications - right, that are very, very welcome for Vladimir Putin.
Because as Jeremy rightly points out, if you have the U.S. retrenching being Donald Trump`s America first style strategy, combined with a weaker EU, and isolated economically declining United Kingdom, all of that is music to the ears of Vladimir Putin.
And so you know I think that over the long run, this is something that we should pay attention to in the United States as well, in the sense that this is bad for American interests to have a close ally - an important ally like the United Kingdom inflicting such obviously avoidable damage on itself.
O`DONNELL: This might be a very short-lived British government. Boris Johnson is going in there without an electoral mandate of any kind.
BASH: Brexit is a terrible idea. It`s even worse with no deal with the rest of the continent. So I can`t see how Britain escapes this moment unscathed.
But I think the broader issue, and it`s kind of a momentous matter here, Lawrence, that we have, the election or the selection of Boris Johnson within 24 hours of Robert Mueller going to the Hill tomorrow to lay out in grave detail the way Donald Trump requested Russian assistance.
He received Russian assistance, he welcomed Russian assistance, he covered up Russian assistance and then he rewarded a Russian assistance. And how did he reward Russian assistance, in part, by denigrating NATO, in part by cheering on Brexit, in part by cheering on the breakup of the European Union.
So here you have Putin`s handiwork that will now be on full display on Capitol Hill tomorrow.
O`DONNELL: And Brian it is such a powerful coincidence, because Robert Mueller will be testifying, especially to the Intelligence Committee about the ways in which Russia does this, and they`re very similar to what we saw in the United Kingdom with the additional element of some ability to trace what appear to be Russian financial contributions to the Brexit campaign.
KLAAS: Yes, that`s right. And I think this is something where the disinformation playbook, the information warfare playbook that Vladimir Putin has started to fine-tune in running up to the 2020 elections in the United States. It`s something that everybody in Europe and in the U.K. is getting used to. It`s the new normal.
And I think part of that is because as Robert Mueller will likely point out tomorrow, there has been no serious consequences to it, both in the - from the British government or from the United States government. And so I think, that`s something that we`ll have to look at, whether Boris Johnson is up to the task of actually standing up to Vladimir Putin.
And the problem is because he needs new allies, because the alliance with European Union is being downgraded, he won`t have the luxury of being tough on authoritarian adversaries like Russia and China, which is again all very good news for autocrats around the world that Donald Trump loves and admires and that are going to inflict serious damage on Western democracies.
Brian Klaas and Jeremy Bash thank you both for your expertise on this important subject tonight, really appreciated. Thank you.
And when we come back, Congresswoman Katie Porter has some questions about "The New York Times" report that Deutsche Bank flagged suspicious trends actions made by Jeffrey Epstein - flagged those transactions to the Treasury Department earlier this year.
Congresswoman Katie Porter will join us, coming up.
O`DONNELL: Tonight "The New York Times" is reporting that Deutsche Bank reported some suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department this year made by convicted sex criminal and now accused sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein.
The Times reports Deutsche Bank reported the transactions to a federal agency in charge of policing financial crimes according to people familiar with the bank`s internal processes. The report came as the bank started looking for signs that Mr. Epstein was using his financial resources for the purposes of sex trafficking.
Earlier this year as the bank rushed to disentangle itself from him, officials discovered additional transactions that they saw as problematic, the people said, that prompted the bank to submit a suspicious activity report to the Treasury Department.
This is not the first time Deutsche Bank had raised concerns about Jeffrey Epstein`s financial transactions. "The Times" reports, in 2015 and 2016 anti-money laundering compliance officers in Deutsche Bank`s offices in New York and Jacksonville, Florida raised a variety of concerns about the work the bank was doing with Mr. Epstein.
The compliance officers on at least one occasion noticed potentially illegal activity in one of Mr. Epstein`s accounts, including transactions in which money was moving outside the United States, the people said.
The compliance officers produced a so-called suspicious activity report, but it is unclear whether the report was ever filed with the Treasury Department`s Financial Crimes Division. Deutsche Bank has been under public scrutiny since it was revealed that they provided Donald Trump hundreds of millions of dollars in loans over a period of two decades when other banks refused to do business with Donald Trump.
Congresswoman Katie Porter has questioned Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin about Deutsche Bank`s handling of suspicious transactions by President Trump. Congresswoman Porter will join us after this break, with her reaction to the news tonight about Deutsche Bank`s handling of Jeffrey Epstein`s banking transactions and what she expects to hear from Robert Mueller`s testimony tomorrow. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: "The New York Times" is reporting tonight that convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein who is now facing new sex trafficking charges in New York has had dozens of accounts at Deutsche Bank, which flagged suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department involving Jeffrey Epstein earlier this year.
The Times reports, the bank decided to sever ties with Mr. Epstein late last year after the Miami Herald published an investigation into the government`s handling of the earlier sexual abuse allegations against him. But that process proved more complicated and time-consuming than executives had initially anticipated.
As of late spring, there were still transactions taking place in some of Mr. Epstein`s Deutsche Bank accounts. Executives now believe that they have closed all of Mr. Epstein`s accounts.
Joining us now is Freshman Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter of California. She`s a member of the House Financial Services Committee. I know you have been questioning the administration about Deutsche Bank involving President Trump, what`s your reaction to this story tonight?
REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Well, I think this is exactly on brand for Deutsche Bank and they seem to be the lender of last resort for unsavory characters. So if you`re a Russian oligarch, if you`re a pedophile, if you`re president Trump - I mean you give joy to make a call.
And so this is very much what we`ve seen a pattern of over a series of years from Deutsche Bank, which is a failure to follow anti-money laundering laws.
O`DONNELL: Is this something that would provoke the committee the Financial Services Committee to drag in Deutsche Bank to say what are you doing with this so-called you know private banking service?
PORTER: Absolutely. This is something we should be asking about with Deutsche Bank. We`ve been trying, of course, to give information from them related to their banking of the President, which is going on for a very long a period.
But I think this is another sign, in a pattern. I mean, I think this is the least surprising thing about this is that the financial institution banking Mr. Epstein was Deutsche Bank. If you had to ask me where does Epstein bank? I would have said probably Deutsche, because that seems to be who their clientele is these days.
The fact that they didn`t - they took him on as a client, keep in mind, he was looking for a bank, because JP Morgan Chase wouldn`t do business with him--
PORTER: --after his initial conviction. So the fact that Deutsche even took him on, I think, says something and they ignored this ongoing pattern of suspicious activity.
O`DONNELL: The positive element of this story about the bank is that, when you read the story it`s very clear, that this story is coming from people inside the bank who don`t like this aspect of their own bank`s business.
PORTER: No, I mean this is what happened. They - the banking compliance folks do their job. These are hardworking Americans who are carefully trained and they tried to raise these concerns.
But what happened, the upper-crust people at Deutsche Bank decided that it was worth it to them to take on this business, to do business with any rich person, whether he was involved in lawful activity or really unlawful and immoral activity like Mr. Epstein.
And so I think this should harden us that there are still hardworking people out there trying to follow the laws. But we should ask ourselves why are those people not running these institutions?
O`DONNELL: I want to go to the big business of the House tomorrow. You are not on the Intelligence Committee or the Judiciary Committee. If you were, what would you be asking Robert Mueller tomorrow?
PORTER: My first question would be, "Based on your investigation, can you exonerate the President of federal crimes, "Yes" or "No". And the answer, if you`ve read the report, has to be no. So this is the first rebuttal to what Mr. Trump has been - President Trump has been tweeting. Mr. Mueller cannot exonerate him.
And then my second question would be, based on the evidence - is there substantial evidence that the President committed one or more acts of obstruction of justice? The answer to this has to be yes. It states that in the report.
And then I think I would say, "How many acts of obstruction of justice did you find substantial evidence of - one, two - stop me when I get there". One, two, three, four, five, six - because there actually are up to 14 acts in which there`s evidence of obstruction of justice. There`s at least four acts in which he says that all of the elements of obstruction of justice are met.
O`DONNELL: When you did that - stop me when I get there on the number, the reason I chuckled, is because that is the Katie Porter hearing style. I have seen you do exactly the kind of thing with cabinet members, with banking executives and you have that is - just unlike anything, I`ve seen before in congressional hearings in the way you kind of make the outcome of these questions inevitable.
PORTER: Well, I mean I think this is the goal. The outcome of these hearings should be inevitable. It should inevitably be the truth for the American people. So there is a purpose to asking these questions.
No matter what witness comes before me, I have the same goal. I want the truth for the American people. So I try to frame the question in a way that will get us to the truth. I don`t presume to know what that is, that`s why they`re posed as questions.
But I really do have a goal and that goal is the truth and that should be the goal that, I hope, all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle bring to these hearings.
O`DONNELL: And I`ve learned, just listening to you here, because I`ve been kind of struggling with this concept of Mueller is not going to say anything that isn`t in his report. And the kind of questions I have are not answered in the report like, "Why didn`t you subpoena the President" and so forth. But the questions you just asked are all in the report. The answers all live within that report.
PORTER: And I think we need to start there. So we need to begin by helping the American people understand what are the basic conclusions of the report, which is that Director Mueller - Special Counsel Mueller - excuse me - cannot exonerate the President.
That based on his investigation he cannot exonerate him. That there is substantial evidence of multiple counts of obstruction of justice and then I would ask him to name each of those four counts of obstruction of justice.
O`DONNELL: Now you are - came out in favor of impeachment after a careful deliberation about it. You`re in one of those districts where reportedly Nancy Pelosi worries about members like you who are representing previously Republican districts and that you might not be able to go as far on these issues as some other members.
What is the experience, but it`s by my memory it`s over a month that you came out in favor of impeachment. What`s happened back in the district to you as a result of that?
PORTER: Well, people still talk to me about all of the issues they were talking to me about. I mean, I think, there`s two separate things here. One is did the special counsel conclude that the President broke the law.
Yes, he did. He said there`s substantial evidence and that`s my job in the House of Representatives. If there`s substantial of a federal crime by our President, then we have a duty to begin an impeachment inquiry and to put that forward then to the Senate for trial.
Separately from that, I don`t think anyone should be concerned that I`m not on my job with financial services. I have banks coming in tomorrow to talk about one of the largest bank mergers in recent history. I`m preparing for that hearing.
So I still hear lots of people talking about prescription drugs. Where`s the effort to reduce the cost of prescription drugs? What`s going on with the deficit? What`s going on with the transportation? So I definitely can take on all of these issues at the same time.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Katie Porter, everyone --
PORTER: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: -- watching these wishes you were in one of the hearings tomorrow. Katie Porter, gets tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.
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